John Quattrochi

Assistant Professor of Public Health
  • Sociology
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(617) 521-2478

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About Me

John Quattrochi, DSc, is an Assistant Professor of Public Health. His teaching and research are motivated by questions like, "'Why do people in some parts of the world die so much younger, fall ill so much more often, and earn so much less money than people in other parts of the world? Is there anything we should do about it? Is there anything we can do about it?"' These are enormous questions that are difficult to answer. Fortunately, many people all over the world are trying to answer them. Most have identified much smaller sub-questions that are easier to study well (i.e. with clear and consistent theory, data, and analysis). The hope is that answering these smaller questions well will contribute to better answers to the bigger questions.

John uses theory and methods from epidemiology, economics, demography, and political science. Much of his work focuses on one particular part of the world in order to (1) better understand the local politics, culture, and economy, and (2) build strong relationships with local scientists, policy-makers, and activists. He focuses on the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) because it is relatively understudied due to long periods of war, remoteness from centers of scholarship, and scarcity of English-speakers. He’s a research fellow with the International Center for Advanced Research and Training at Panzi Hospital and the Evangelical University of Africa. He also often works with the Catholic University of Bukavu. See "'My Research"' for more details.

John’s winding path to Simmons went something like this: from kindergarten through 12th grade, he attended public schools in five states (VA, WA, MA, CA, SC). He graduated with a B.S. in economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and then studied ecology and evolutionary biology for one year at the University of Naples (Italy) Federico II as a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar. Seeking practical research experience, he managed an aquatic ecology lab for one year at Florida International University, looking at how food webs respond to human impacts. Then, wanting to apply ecology to global health, he spent a year studying malaria mosquito ecology at the Uganda Virus Research Institute as a Fulbright Fellow. He completed his doctoral training at Harvard School of Public Health in the Department of Global Health & Population writing his dissertation on child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa, during which time he lived for 6 months in The Gambia. John then lived in Bukavu (DRC) for a year as a research fellow in development economics for Wageningen University (Netherlands). His non-academic jobs along the way were: community organizer, waiter, sandwich-maker, barista, landscaper, newspaper delivery dude, camp counselor, and tutor.

What I Teach

  • Introductory Statistics
  • Epidemiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Global Health and Political Economy

Research/Creative Activities

Dr. Quattrochi is a quantitative social scientist who draws on theories and methods from epidemiology, economics, and political science to address policy ­relevant questions in fragile and failed states. He has applied multiple methods – causal inference, simulation, and spatial analysis to both survey and administrative data to investigate under ­5 mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. He is currently working on studies in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on (i) humanitarian assistance to build resilience and (ii) gender-based violence, security and female empowerment. He’s committed to building research capacity in partnership with local organizations while pursuing a research agenda that draws generalizable lessons out of locally ­tailored studies of the relationships between illness, poverty, and human security. To find out mo